We’re all familiar with the big-hitter holiday parks: the ones you can’t miss as you’re driving through the centre of a new town. They’re great and work perfectly well for a few nights’ stay. But do a little research before your next destination, and you’ll uncover some lesser-known parks that have a whole lot to offer and then some. These caravan parks are more than just a place to park up your van or motorhome to get some shut-eye. They’re unique stays with facilities, locations, and activities to rival some of the region’s favourite permanent accommodations.
Few country farm stays offer what Taunton Farm does: fully powered sites for you to park up your caravan or motorhome. You get a genuine farm life experience on this working beef and sheep farm 4km out of Cowaramup. But you also get all the creature comforts of being in your own mobile accommodation; it’s a win-win situation. The kids will love the daily animal feedings, and the adults the barn-style ‘barbecue shed’ with free gas barbecues and log fire for those chilly winter nights.
Summerstar Tourist Parks
Cut the wallet some slack and make the most of Summerstar Tourist Parks’ ‘mid-week stay special’, where you can save 20% on any stay of two or more days from Sundays to Thursdays. There’s not one, but four Summerstar Tourist Parks dotted around Australia’s South West, each in prime locations in the most loved tourist towns. Take the Busselton Lazy Days Caravan Park, for example, with cabins and campsites just a 10-minute walk from the calm shores of Broadwater Beach. Then there’s Riverview Tourist Park in Margaret River, with fully self-contained cabins opening onto the river’s edge. The final two parks are in Walpole and Margaret River, respectively: Summerstar Walpole Rest Point and Summerstar Margaret River Tourist Park.
Lake Brockman Tourist Park
Settle amongst the Jarrah Trees and savour the view of a calm Logue Brook Dam at Lake Brockman Tourist Park, just 10 minutes from Harvey. The powered and unpowered sites sit on the dam’s banks, where you’re free to fish for trout year-round or marron in season if you have a license. Not into fishing? There’s still plenty to do. Take a canoe out on the dam for a peaceful paddle, or send the kids off to play on the nature playground while you tuck into scones and Devonshire tea at the on-site cafe, Bonissimo.
After a few days’ stay at the Stirling Range Retreat, you’ll be a full bottle on wildflowers. Each spring, the retreat owners run wildflower and birdwatching tours in the northern limits of the Stirling Range National Park, close to the accommodation. Join them for a stroll through the bushland, where you’ll see many of the 1500 native species of flora found in the park. If you’re feeling particularly active, the entrance to the Bluff Knoll trail is nearby the shady tent and caravan sites. Post-walk, cool off in one of the two pools before cooking up a feast in the fully equipped camp kitchen.
RAC Karri Valley Resort
Though a resort by name, RAC Karri Valley very much welcomes caravaners and campers with a choice of soft, ensuite, or slab sites, all of which are powered. They sit less than a 20-minute walk from the main resort facility and Beedelup Lake, shrouded by the thick Karri forest of Beedelup National Park. Take a wander to the lake for a swim, a gentle kayak, or even a spot of trout fishing. Just nearby, you’ll find the Beedelup Falls, too. They’re at their fullest in winter and spring, the same time the region’s wildflowers spring into bloom. Unfortunately, no pets are allowed because the caravan park sits within the national park.
As the saying goes: location, location, location. Food and wine lovers couldn’t find a more convenient caravan park than the small, family-owned Karri Aura Caravan Park; it’s within walking distance of some of Denmark’s most acclaimed restaurants and wineries. Five minutes down the road, you’ll be at Ajar on Shadforth, a cosy, modern-Australian restaurant with unbeatable views of the Wilson Inlet. A touch further, and you’ll be within reach of riesling and porchetta at Castelli Estate. Jump in the car, and town is just a 5-minute drive away, and the white sand beaches of William Bay, 20.
The protected waters of Emu Beach are just a stone’s throw from the peppermint tree-covered caravan and motorhome sites at Acclaim Rose Gardens. It’s the perfect stay for families with small children, the beach calm and shallow enough for even the most timid swimmers to splash around. Bring your fishing rods, and you can try your luck at catching dinner off the beach, which you can take back and cook up at the camp kitchen. If the weather isn’t exactly screaming ‘beach’, there’s a playground and tennis court to keep everyone active and entertained instead.